Ole: Wan-Bissaka is key to the way we play
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is delighted with how Aaron Wan-Bissaka is evolving as a full-back at Manchester United, and says the Reds rely on his penetration going forward.
The 22-year-old's defensive abilities – not least his knack for timing a tackle – were well-known when he completed his move to United a year ago, and his stats in this regard paint a telling picture, with only Leicester City's Ricardo Pereira winning more tackles in the Premier League this season.
But the former Crystal Palace man has fine-tuned his attacking game in recent months, and provided his third assist of the campaign during Wednesday's 3-0 victory over Sheffield United.
When asked by reporters if Wan-Bissaka had exceeded expectations in his debut season at Old Trafford, Solskjaer said that he was purchased primarily for his defensive game, but that his improvements going forward had been recognised.
Wan-Bissaka's three assists this seasonVideo
“We saw an exceptional defender when I watched him last season,” explained the boss.
“He had a couple of games especially against [Leroy] Sane, against Manchester City, and you think ‘wow, he’s so hard to go past’.
“Then when we managed to sign him you get to know him and he’s a shy boy, but still he’s providing more and more assists and creating more chances and crosses.”
Full-back has become one of the most important positions in football during the modern era, with players expected to contribute substantially at both ends of the field.
Solskjaer sees the flanks as a vital component in how United build our attacks, and credits Wan-Bissaka's previous experiences as a winger – he played in that role in Palace's Academy – as key in the buccaneering performances we've seen against the likes of Newcastle and Chelsea, where he provided pinpoint crosses for Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial, respectively, to head home.
“It’s in him, because he’s been a winger,” Ole continued.
“The best full-backs, at the moment, sometimes they have been wingers.
Norwich v United: Watch Ole's press conferenceVideo
“We rely on the full-backs to go forward in the way we want to play and I’m very pleased with his progress.”
Aaron's assist against the Blades means that only Daniel James and Rashford, both with six, have created more goals than Wan-Bissaka in the league for the Reds in 2019/20.